Renaissance

Rhesus Monkeys, Cantaloupes, And Donald Trump

Rhesus Monkeys, Cantaloupes, And Donald Trump

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This is an excellent article on presidential power to levy tariffs and to grant pardons. But the article opens out onto an issue that dramatizes why Donald Trump is not a President within the liberal-democratic, rights-centric, Enlightenment-based nature of the American, in fact, the entire Western, political culture. In fact, not only is Trump not a part of that system, he is as alien to that political tradition as, say, a rhesus monkey is alien to a cantaloupe:  they are simply radically different kinds of things. The structure of the Constitution incorporates certain aspects that the Framers selectively imported from the European, especially British, Enlightenment and deliberately built in, and that they intended in 1787 to be the strengths of the Constitution. These stre
Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part II

Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part II

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From Part I:  So why and how did the warring parties finally settle the internecine dispute? Why is Europe not still being ravaged by sectarian warfare? Two-part answer:  (1) in places it is, e.g., the Balkan War, northern Ireland, et al.; (2) see Part II next week. Beginning around 1500 – we might not-quite-arbitrarily want to start with Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492 ... or maybe the invention of the printing press in the 1450s – two things began to occur in parallel with the raging religious war that was consuming the European Continent:  (a) the rise of science, and (b) the rediscovery and rejuvenation of the faculty of Reason in human beings. The combination of (a) and (b) led over time to that great efflorescence of autonomy and intellect that came to be known a
“Sailing With Ulysses” Reconsidered

“Sailing With Ulysses” Reconsidered

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Not quite a year ago, as this is written (20 Nov 2016), I published an article in the Be-Zine in which I defended a broad-based liberal arts education by reference to the audacious undertaking of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s, Ulysses in setting out again in his old age for exploration. (A previous, slightly modified version of that article was published as a “Skeptic’s Collection” column.) I still believe and stand by everything, without exception, that I said in the 2015 piece. But, in retrospect, I realize that it needs to be qualified in two practical ways that got shouldered aside in my original access of romantic zeal. Upon more mature reflection, I realize that I should have addressed with more urgency than previously two related issues:  (1) the sheer cost of a modern university-leve